On November 3, 1988, Junko Furuta, a Japanese high school student, was kidnapped, raped, and tortured for 44 days at the home of her classmate. The details of the abuse she suffered during that time are shocking and unspeakable. Her body was eventually discovered in a concrete drum, earning her the moniker “Concrete-Encased High School Girl Murder Case.”
Junko, a mere 17 years old, endured such extreme torture that she was rendered incapable of standing or speaking before her tragic death. The primary culprits behind this heinous crime were Hiroshi Miyano, Jō Ogura, Shinji Minato, and Yasushi Watanabe. However, despite the severity of their actions, all four individuals have since been released from prison, adding to the profound tragedy of the situation.
The responsibility for Junko Furuta’s death cannot be placed solely on the actions of the four teenage boys involved. There were numerous individuals who failed to notice or intervene in the assault on the girl, ultimately leading to her untimely demise.
Warning: This article contains graphic details about Junko Furuta’s death, which may be upsetting to some readers.
Who Was Junko Furuta?
Junko Furuta, born in Misato, Saitama Prefecture, was described as a model student with outstanding academic achievements and a good attendance record. She was dedicated to her studies and worked part-time to support her family. Junko had secured a job at an electronics store and had plans to continue working there after graduating from high school. She was admired for her accomplishments and known for her responsible and diligent nature.
n addition to her impressive academic achievements, Furuta was a captivating teenager who attracted a great deal of attention, causing some of her peers to feel envious. She was a role model student who refrained from smoking, drugs and excelled in her studies.
However, Hiroshi Miyano, one of the school bullies, had developed a crush on Furuta, but she rejected his advances, which fueled his anger. This unfortunate situation would lead to a tragic series of events.
Abduction of Junko Furuta
On November 25, 1988, Hiroshi Miyano and his friend Misato set out with the purpose of robbing and sexually assaulting women in their local area. At around 8:30 pm that evening, they noticed Junko Furuta riding her bicycle home after completing her part-time job. Miyano instructed Misato to forcefully kick her bicycle and quickly escape from the scene.
Misato complied with Miyano’s instructions, while Miyano, who was present at the scene, deceitfully acted as if he stumbled upon the assault. He approached Furuta and offered to give her a ride home. Unaware of the meticulously orchestrated plan, Furuta accepted the seemingly kind gesture. Little did she know that she was being lured into a nightmarish ordeal.
Miyano transported Furuta to a nearby camp where he subjected her to further assault. During this horrific experience, he also revealed his affiliation with a local criminal organization, the Yakuza, and issued chilling threats of ending her life. Subsequently, Miyano abducted her and took her to a hotel, where he subjected her to yet another brutal sexual assault.
After Miyano committed his horrifying act, he reached out to his acquaintances Ogura and Watanabe Yasushi and shamelessly shared the details of the assault he had committed. Ogura, driven by his own twisted desires, proposed the idea of kidnapping Furuta and keeping her captive. Tragically, the Yakuza, a criminal organization known for its involvement in sexual violence, had been previously linked to a similar atrocious crime.
Miyano took Furuta to a park where his friends were waiting around 3 a.m. They discovered her address and threatened to murder her family if she attempted to flee. They took her to one of the boys’ houses and held her there until her death.
The kidnappers of Junko Furuta discovered her home address in a notebook found in her backpack. They then used this information to intimidate and control her further. They informed Junko that they knew where she lived and threatened to harm her family if she tried to escape. This manipulation tactic was aimed at preventing her from seeking help or reaching out to the authorities.
In order to halt the police investigation and mislead her family, the captors forced Junko to make a phone call to her mother. During the call, they coerced her to say that she had run away voluntarily and was currently living with a friend, ensuring her family believed she was safe. This tactic was intended to divert suspicion and maintain control over the situation.
Unfortunately, her parents reported her missing to the police two days after her disappearance, unaware of the horrifying reality she was enduring. The kidnappers’ use of threats against Junko’s family and their manipulation of her communication further added to her helplessness and isolation throughout the ordeal.
Junko Furuta was made to pretend to be the girlfriend of one of her captors when Minato’s parents paid visits to their house. However, as time went on and more visits occurred, it became evident that Furuta was not willingly involved in a romantic relationship but rather held captive against her will. Despite being aware of the dire circumstances, Minato’s parents, driven by fear of retaliation from Hiroshi Miyano, a member of the Yakuza, took no action. Even Minato’s brother, along with their parents, chose not to intervene, leaving Furuta in her harrowing dilemma.
44 days of hell
Junko Furuta was held captive in the Minato Residence for the next 40 days, and during that time, she was subjected to unspeakable suffering, of which even the details are shocking.
For Junko Furuta, each day inside the Mintao’s residence was nothing short of hell:
In court, the perpetrators testified that they subjected her to over 400 instances of rape, constant beatings, starvation, and even hung her from the ceiling, using her as a human punching bag. They dropped barbells on her stomach, forced her to consume live cockroaches and her own urine, and compelled her to masturbate in front of them. They cruelly forced her to sing and dance while they continued to beat her. They employed cigarettes, lighters, and hot wax to inflict burns on her, including her eyelids.
As a result of the relentless and brutal assaults, Junko Furuta’s health deteriorated rapidly. There were instances when she lost consciousness and had to be revived by being submerged in a bucket of water. Despite her uterus suffering severe damage, she was tragically discovered to be pregnant.
Desperate for help, Furuta made one attempt to call the police, but she was apprehended before she could utter a word. When the police returned her call, Hiroshi Miyano deceitfully claimed it was a mistake. In a cruel act of punishment for her desperate plea for assistance, her captors tied her legs and set her feet on fire using burning lighter fluid. After enduring this torment for 20 agonizing days, she became unable to walk due to the severe burns on her legs and extensively bruised muscles.
Junko Furuta suffered severe damage to her hands, with her captors mercilessly smashing her bones and tearing her fingernails. Despite these horrifying injuries, they callously compelled her to sleep on the balcony, subjecting her to freezing temperatures. Furthermore, her internal organs sustained damage, causing her excruciating pain and preventing her from urinating properly throughout the relentless 30-day assault. In her utter despair and torment, she pleaded with her captors to end her life, desperately seeking an escape from the unbearable agony. Shockingly, her pleas fell on deaf ears as they callously refused, continuing their relentless attacks and inflicting further torture upon her
According to one of the kidnappers, “Furuta’s legs were so badly damaged that it took her over an hour to drag herself down the stairs to the toilet.” Her body was also severely crippled and she began to emit a foul odor, driving the boys away from her.
It is alleged that one of the kidnappers’ acquaintances, Ihara, was forced to participate in the horrifying abuse inflicted upon Junko Furuta. After Ihara left the Minato residence, he shared the distressing details with his brother, who promptly informed their parents. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Ihara’s parents took immediate action and contacted the police.
In response, police officers were dispatched to the Minato residence with the purpose of investigating the reported incident. However, upon their arrival, they were informed that there was no girl present at the location. Regrettably, the officers declined an invitation to thoroughly search the house, a decision that would later be met with disappointment from the community.
Had the police officers conducted a comprehensive search of the Minato residence, there remains the possibility that Junko Furuta’s life could have been saved. The diligent pursuit of their investigation by the police could have brought an earlier end to the unimaginable ordeal suffered by Junko Furuta.
The Death of Junko Furuta
On January 4, 1989, Furuta’s kidnappers challenged her to a game of Mahjong Solitaire, which she won. This unexpected victory outraged the boys, leading them to escalate the level of abuse inflicted upon her. They ruthlessly assaulted her with an iron barbell, delivering painful blows through kicks and punches. To inflict additional torment, they callously placed two short candles on her delicate eyelids, subjecting her to the excruciating pain of burning hot wax.
They subjected her to unimaginable physical abuse, including beating her with a stick, using plastic bags to strike her, slamming an iron exercise ball into her stomach, and setting her on fire with lighter fluid. Despite her attempts to extinguish the fire, she eventually became unresponsive and succumbed to her injuries after enduring the two-hour assault.
Junko’s perpetrators wrapped her body in blankets and placed it inside a suitcase. They filled the suitcase into a 55-gallon drum and filled it with wet concrete. This ghastly container was then dumped into a cement truck, located in Tokyo’s Koto neighborhood. During the autopsy, it was discovered that Furuta had suffered severe injuries, including a significant shrinking of her brain and extensive damage to her eardrums. The horrific details of the crimes inflicted upon her daughter had a devastating impact on Furuta’s mother, necessitating her admission to intensive psychiatric treatment.
Junko Furuta’s Captors
Hiroshi Miyano and Jō Ogura were taken into custody on January 23, 1989, for the abduction and gang rape of a 19-year-old woman that had occurred in December. On March 29, after a women’s underwear was found at Miyano’s residence, two police officers went to question him.
During the interrogation, both Miyano and Ogura confessed to the crimes committed against Junko Furuta. Miyano cooperated with the police and led them to the location where Furuta’s body was concealed. However, when the police inquired about the disappearance of another woman and her 7-year-old son, the suspects’ confession left the authorities puzzled.
The following day, the police discovered the drum containing Furuta’s remains. Through fingerprint analysis, her identity was confirmed. Jō Ogura had previously been arrested on April 1, 1989, for a separate sexual assault and was subsequently charged with Furuta’s murder. Nobuharu Minato, Yasushi Watanabe, and Minato’s brother were also apprehended in connection with the case.
Trial of Junko Furuta’s captors
Despite their heinous crimes, the court kept their identities hidden, but a Japanese magazine was able to uncover and publish their identities. The magazine stated that “give the severity of the crime, the accused did not deserve to have their right to anonymity upheld.”
Instead of pleading guilty to murder, all of the kidnappers pleaded guilty to “causing bodily injury that resulted in death.” Although they were tried as juveniles, they had to be convicted as adults. Unfortunately, all four of them have already been released from prison.
Hiroshi Miyano, the criminal mastermind, was sentenced to 17 years in prison; he later appealed, but Tokyo High Court judge Ryji Yanase increased his sentence by three years. The sentence for two more boys who appealed was also increased by the same judge. After selling their family home, Hiroshi’s mother allegedly sent Furuta’s parents 50 million yen (US $425,000).
Yasushi Watanabe, now Jo Kamisaku, was released in August 1999, and five years later, in July 2004, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for assaulting a man he believed was luring his girlfriend away from him.
All of the sentences were deemed far too lenient for the crimes committed, and all of them were protected by special laws that apply to people over the age of 18.
Junko Furuta’s funeral took place on April 2, 1989. The following passage is from a memorial address written by one of her friends:
Jun-chan, welcome back. I have never dreamed that we would see you again in this way. You must have been in so much pain… so much suffering. The happiness we all made from the school festival looked really good on you. We will never forget you. I have heard that the headmaster has presented you with a graduation certificate. So, we graduated together – all of us Jun-chan, there is no more pain, no more suffering. Please rest in peace.
Movie based on Junko Furuta’ Movie’s life
The movie “Concrete” delves into the tragic murder of Junko Furuta, exploring not only her harrowing ordeal at the hands of her four assailants but also the societal factors that contributed to their actions.
While some may consider this story to be a hoax, it is important to acknowledge that the terrible crime did indeed occur. We wish fervently that it had been a fabrication, sparing Junko Furuta from unimaginable suffering. However, her untimely demise serves as a haunting reminder that such atrocities should never be allowed to happen again.
In the wake of this shocking incident, the subsequent trial and verdicts underscored the urgent need for prevention and intervention. If you come across anything unusual or suspect someone may be in danger, it is crucial to reach out to someone you trust, inform your elders, or report the situation to the authorities. By taking action, you may potentially save a precious life.
This case is a tragic reminder of the consequences of staying silent and failing to intervene in situations where someone is in danger. It highlights the need for individuals to speak out against abuse and violence and for society to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.